Jamie Lee Curtis, who played Eliza Dushku’s mother on 1994’s “True Lies,” spoke out in an op-ed about Dushku’s allegation that the film’s stunt coordinator, Joel Kramer, sexually molested her when she was just 12 years old.
In the op-ed for the Huffington Post, published on Sunday, Curtis revealed that Dushku told her about the alleged incident years ago. “I was shocked and saddened then and still am today.”
“Eliza’s story has now awakened us from our denial slumber to a new, horrific reality,” she wrote. “The abuse of children.”
Curtis pointed to the complexities of working with child actors on set, and recalled when, while she was shooting 1991’s “My Girl” with a young Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky, she implemented a “swear jar” on set.
“It is a complicated relationship working with children as they are being asked to do adult work with you in an adult field, surrounded by hundreds of adults who want them to perform for them, and yet are still inherently children,” Curtis said. “I have wrestled with my role as a mentor, colleague, surrogate, and friend, and each relationship is individual and unique. Are we really friends? Are we work mates? Children are not mature enough to recognize that subtle difference.”
But another disturbing aspect, Curtis wrote, revolved around the fact that the alleged assault was carried out by a stunt coordinator — the person on set who’s responsible for the actors’ safety. “I was suspended under a helicopter by a wire, holding onto the hand of the man who is now being accused of abuse,” she wrote.
“All of us must take some responsibility that the loose and relaxed camaraderie that we share with our young performers has carried with it a misguided assumption that they are adults in an adult world, capable of making adult choices,” she went on.
Curtis is only the latest involved with the production of “True Lies” to speak out on Dushku’s allegation, which Kramer has denied. Director James Cameron, at a Television Critics Association panel on Saturday, commended Dushku’s “brave” decision to go public with the “heartbreaking” story.
“Had I known about it, there would have been no mercy,” Cameron said. “I have three daughters. There’d really be no mercy now.”
Kramer has since been dropped by his agency, World Production Agency.
“Such behavior is unacceptable and entirely at odds with the the standards of conduct we demand of ourselves,” WPA president Richard Caleel said in a statement.
Read Curtis’ full op-ed here.